Interventions are required to reduce children’s consumption of discretionary foods and drinks. To intervene we need to identify appropriate discretionary choice targets. This study aimed to determine the main discretionary choice contributors to energy and key nutrient intakes in children aged 2–18 years. Secondary analyses were performed with population weighted, single 24 h dietary recall data from the 2011–2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. Cakes, muffins, and slices; sweet biscuits; potato crisps and similar snacks; and, processed meats and sugar-sweetened drinks were relatively commonly consumed and were within the top three to five contributors to per capita energy, saturated fat, sodium, and/or added sugars. Per consumer intake identified cereal-based takeaway foods; cakes, muffins and slices; meat pies and other savoury pastries; and, processed meats as top contributors to energy, saturated fat, and sodium across most age groups. Subgroups of sugar-sweetened drinks and cakes, muffins and slices were consistently key contributors to added sugars intake. This study identified optimal targets for interventions to reduce discretionary choices intake, likely to have the biggest impact on moderating energy intake while also reducing intakes of saturated fat, sodium and/or added sugars.
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- dietary intake
- Energy-dense nutrient-poor